Tougher penalties proposed for dangerous dog owners

Published Wednesday, 19 April, 2023 at 03:16 PM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

  • The animal management taskforce was convened by the Palaszczuk Government today.
  • Proposals brought to the taskforce include increased penalties for owners of dogs that cause harm, jail time for the most serious attacks, statewide bans on restricted breeds, and development of a community education program.
  • Consultation on proposed legislative changes to be held.
  • Taskforce will continue to assess further tough reforms.

Increased penalties for irresponsible dog owners, jail time for the worst offenders and a statewide ban on restricted breeds are among a raft of measures proposed by the animal management taskforce that will now go to broader public consultation.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner convened the taskforce today to introduce and discuss proposed changes to animal management legislation to protect the Queensland community.

The proposed changes include a sliding scale of penalties depending on the severity of the attack, up to jail time for persons responsible for dogs that kill or cause grievous bodily harm to a person.

Other proposed measures that encourage responsible dog ownership include on-the-spot fines for off-leash dogs, and a statewide ban on dog breeds prohibited for import by the Commonwealth.

In addition to these initiatives, the taskforce will continue to analyse further actions brought forward by councils.

These include the fast-tracking of decisions and appeals on the future of seized dangerous animals, a centralised database for microchipping details, additional enforcement provisions for unregistered and unmicrochipped animals and repeat offenders, and improved powers for council officers.

As well as tough new penalties, Minister Furner said better owner education was critical to reducing dog bites.

Eighty per cent of bites occur in the home, with a majority of those by a dog that a person owns or is known to them. A community education program targeted at children and dog owners was proposed to the taskforce to combat this.

The taskforce, made up of local government members from across Queensland, the Local Government Association of Queensland and senior Department of Agriculture and Fisheries officers, was established to undertake a targeted review of the Animal Management (Cats & Dogs) Act 2008.

The proposals are based on feedback provided by the taskforce working group, which were developed in conjunction with sub-working groups from across Queensland.

The taskforce and the taskforce working group have met eleven times between them since the first taskforce meeting in August 2022.

A paper detailing the proposed changes to the Act will now be prepared for public consultation.

Quotes attributable to the Minister:

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to community safety, and we expect animal owners to ensure their pets don’t present a danger to the community,” Mr Furner said.

“I would like to thank members of the taskforce, the taskforce working group and sub-working groups who have worked closely with the community to develop these proposed changes.

“These proposals changes promote responsible dog ownership, protect the community, and enforce appropriate penalties when community standards aren’t met.

“The next step is to undertake community consultation on the proposed changes.

“The Palaszczuk Government will continue to work closely with local governments that are tasked with enforcing animal management in their communities.”

Quotes attributable to Local Government Association of Queensland CEO Alison Smith:

“Dangerous dogs are a critical issue for communities and councils have worked hard to find sensible, workable solutions to a growing problem that often has terrible, and even tragic, consequences.

“I would especially like to thank the hardworking council officers who have dedicated their time and their knowledge to progressing much-needed legislative changes over many months.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the State to progress these changes and we welcome the commitment to progress other critical reforms raised by our member councils and their officers.”


Media contact: Bryce Heaton 0427 781 920